The World sums up the Fool’s Journey that we started with when assessing the Major Arcana. This is a card of completeness and wholeness. This project, phase of your life, or even relationship is done, and that’s a good thing. There is a feeling of peace and serenity as you move forward into the next phase of your life. If Judgement had you summing up the things you’ve learned along the way, The World sees you satisfied, stronger, and wiser as you forge your next path. Alternate interpretations of The World focus on the more literal concept of “the world,” namely that travel is well-aspected. If The World shows up it’s definitely time to see what else is out in the world that you haven’t experienced yet. It may also be time to integrate more ideas or values into your current mode of understanding or way of doing things.
One of the first things I noticed when I began queering the tarot was how frequently The World showed up in LGBTQQIAP+ readings regardless of what the identity within our acronym was. The first logical step into queering the card was to encourage seekers to get outside of their upbringing and immediate neighborhood/community/family/etc when they started questioning their sexual or gender identity, and to get out into the big wide world and find communities with a lot more queerness and overall diversity running through them. This interpretation holds up today, but as our community and our understanding of sexuality and gender evolve and grow, so does our understanding of The World—both the card and the thing itself.
While it is substantially easier to find communities accepting of gay and lesbian people than it was even five or ten years ago, for transgender, bisexual, pansexual, genderqueer, non-binary, asexual, and so many others, finding those communities is still really difficult. Even for gay and lesbian people, finding other gay and lesbian people or those accepting of such may not be enough (and it is true that there are still pockets of society that group all of us “queers” into one and individuals for whom finding acceptance is still damn near impossible). It may also be time to find people who share your sexual or gender identity who also identify with you in other ways—perhaps other gay men who share your spiritual beliefs, other transgender people who love art as much as you do, or other gender non-conforming corporate employees. In this case The World is about finding your own world for the first time—something many of us still struggle with, but that certainly demands wwe get out of the bubble we were brought up in or currently exist in.
The World also shows up for people who came into their identities awhile ago but have struggled in some way to truly accept and live as themselves, or for whom a siginificant learning curve or transition was in place when they came out and began living their true life. This card shows up to affirm these querents and assure them they are ready for the next phase of their life. They’re ready to date as a queer person, they’re about to move forward in their life after a gender transition, or they’re ready to bring a new partner into a newly polyamorous situation, for example. Usually these querents know that they feel better, like a subtle but significant change has taken place, but often have trouble figuring out what that means for their life. The person interpreting the cards’ job is to let them know that their period of struggle or change is over, and they are ready to step forward fresh and new—but in no way naively or youthfully like The Fool. If our Judgement card is about ascension to the next level at it’s base, this is the card that shows who we are and how our life manifests after that ascension. That’s true regardless of one’s identity, but the “who we are” and “how our life manifests” obviously look drastically different in accordance with this.
The World also indicates achievement and success from time to time, and for those who take on activist roles or who’s vocation directly correlates to their queer identity, this is even better news. Not only is that new leadership position, grant, or ad campaign aspected well, but you likely began doing the work you did for a reason—to impact the world. The World showing up in these situations is a sure sign that you are creating the change you work so diligently to create, and that sure signs of progression will begin showing themselves in your line of work.
This is a card where wisdom and optimism reenter your life and allow you to walk peacefully and as one with the world around you. For a queer seeker, this likely means your identity and sense of self are stronger than they’ve ever been, a triumph in and of itself for most of us. It likely also indicates that your community ties are strong, and if they aren’t, that getting out and seeking “your” community is brilliantly aspected. The World means the struggles and pain of this last chapter of your life have come to a close and you have come out on top. You are ready to move on and forward in your fabulous queer life, and take your place in The World. While this card is ALWAYS a joyous one, for non-straight, non-cisgender seekers, this card is usually an even deeper, warmer breathe of fresh air. You didn’t get to close this chapter easily, but you will get to peacefully, and you get to enjoy the next phase of that fabulous queer life exponentially more.
As we close the first phase of this Queering the Tarot project, I encourage you to pick up a deck of your own if you haven’t, and learn along for awhile. Tarot is best used as a tool for self-discovery and empowerment, and that is needed even more in communities of marginalized people than it is elsewhere. Learning the Majors alone through a queer lens can help you heal and grow in your life—and as we take on the Minor Arcana, those dreaded Court Cards, and perhaps some queer-specific spreads along the way, you’ll (hopefully) be fascinated by the journey it takes you on.
Be sure to check out the first nineteen parts: Queering the Tarot: Judgement, Queering the Tarot: The Sun, Queering the Tarot: The Moon, Queering the Tarot: The Star, Queering the Tarot: The Tower, Queering the Tarot: The Devil, Queering the Tarot: Temperance, Queering the Tarot: Death, Queering the Tarot: The Hanged Man, Queering the Tarot: Justice, Queering the Tarot: The Wheel, Queering The Tarot: The Hermit, Queering The Tarot: Strength, Queering The Tarot: The Chariot, Queering the Tarot: The Lovers, Queering the Tarot: The Hierophant, Queering the Tarot: The Emperor, The Empress, and Archaic Gender Roles, Queering the Tarot: The High Priestess, Queering The Tarot: The Magician, Queering the Tarot, and Queering the Tarot: Let’s Start at the Very Beginning